Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Stop the mismanagement of the bailout. Here are the steps: (1) recover $700B, (2) mine IRS data for homeowners who are US citizens, (3) deliver $100k directly to each homeowner and citizen, (4) install new lending guidelines and requirements, (5) install glass ceiling compensation for Fortune 100 executives.

Results: rewards those who are fiscally responsible rather than irresponsible, stems foreclosures and enables banks to rewrite mortages on good paper, increases deposits and flows money into lending, helps local businesses via cash to potential customers, provides clear tranparency to "where the money went," sets a new baseline (bottom) quickly, enables those without mortgages or low mortgages to pay for college for thier kids.

This is not rocket science. The trickle-down initiative currently underway is poorly constructed under the belief that government is more responsible than the citizens it serves. This is simply flawed--just look at all the executives pandering for entitlement to $700B.

Bring governance back to government and accountability back to the people. We are not about not special treatment and special interests.

One note about the Big Three. This is absurd--go into bankruptcy, restructure, renegotiate with unions to bring salaries in line (from $78 per work hour to $40 per work hour). In the meantime, the mortgage plan above will reduce the average worker's mortgage by half, resulting in a smaller net change in cost of living vs layoffs.

I merely suggest that common sense rule the day, rather than common idiocracy.

Charles Reinighaus

Indialantic, FL

Nov 19 2008 - 12:49pm

Web Letter

Today I found an item from the UK Daily Mail that said when Goldman Sachs had requested, and received, $12 billion as their part of the bailout, all the while they had reserved about $14 billion for bonuses for their 434 partners, who will each get about $6 million a piece for Christmas.

This is sickening, amazing, horrific.

Gabriel Becket

Portland, OR

Nov 2 2008 - 2:22am

Web Letter

I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG. Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend. To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+. Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billion that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend. Of course, it would not be tax free. So let's assume a tax rate of 30 percent. Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500 in taxes. That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam. But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500 in their pocket.

A husband and wife has $595,000. What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage--housing crisis solved.Repay college loans--what a great boost to new grads. Put away money for college--it'll be there. Save in a bank--create money to loan to entrepreneurs. Buy a new car--create jobs. Invest in the market--capital drives growth. Pay for your parent's medical insurance--health care improves. Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean--or else

Remember, this is for every adult US citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we're going to redistribute wealth let's really do it... instead of trickling out a puny $1,000 ("buying the vote") economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for president.

If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult US citizen 18+!

As for AIG--liquidate it. Sell off its parts. Let American General go back to being American General. Sell off the real estate. Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up. Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't. Sure it's a crazy idea that can "never work." But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party! How do you spell Economic Boom? I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 billion We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington, DC .

And remember, my plan only really costs $59.5 billion because $25.5 billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam. Ahhh... I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

Tim K. Parkinson

Salt Lake City, UT

Oct 2 2008 - 10:58pm

Web Letter

I have an alternative to the rescue plan that I think that conservatives might be able to support. Vouchers. Seven hundred billion works out to more than $7,000 dollars for every man, woman and child in the country. Let’s send each of us a $7,000 voucher for primary residences.

For those with failing mortgages this could save them. For those with sound mortgages, they could pay down some of their principal. Those that rent could use the money they save to pump up the economy, or it might augment their savings enough to let them buy something.

This would stop the drop in house prices, and indirectly pump more money into the credit markets. It would also be fair. Instead of bailing out the bankers we could bail out everyone. This would be popular with voters!

John McGloin

Staten Island, NY

Oct 1 2008 - 11:23am

Web Letter

If my business fails because of management mistakes and a bad decision along the line, is the government going to bail me out?

Why do these businesses get special treatment? I paid over $40,000 in taxes this year to date, and yet when I filed for help for disaster relief, I did not qualify because I make too much money! Amazingly enough, everyone getting assistance from the government qualified to get more assistance from the government--you know, the ones sitting at home not working, collecting food stamps and welfare! I'm getting a little tired of providing everyone else with a living. I'm tired of "bailing out" these sectors of private business because they make bad decisions--the salaries for the people that work in these sectors are incredibly high!

If the government is going to step in and help, I suggest they take all the corporate officers and put a salary cap of $60,000 a year on them until they pay back the money they are given to bail them out. Make them sell the house they live in and give up all the perks that they have! Bring them back to reality. Let them live like most people live and make them sign a contract that they have to stay and keep the same salary until the money is paid back, or they don't get bailed out!

I'm tired of paying for everyone else's mistakes in life! If you got flooded from a storm or devastated from a storm and rebuilt in that same area, sorry, you are on your own, FEMA is not a national insurance policy because you are ignorant!

It's not up to you or me to continue to pay for everyone else's mistakes, their bad decisions in life, having children they cannot afford to raise, being a drug addict, being an alcoholic--I'll assist you with something once, but if you fail at that attempt, don't look for any more assistance. We are supposedly a democracy, but yet everyday I watch this country turn more communistic and socialistic in its views.

The only thing bailing out industries does is give them a feeling of security that when they fail they will have us all to lean on. I'm sorry, I have too much leaning on me now!

Seven hundred billion dollars of extravagant life styles, lavish vacations and lunches, lavish homes and vehicles, expensive parties and toys to play with, that's what you are handing out! Add up all the salaries of all the corporate officers over the last decade and you will see it adds up to the $700 billion we are getting ready to hand out to these "institutions." Government is out of touch with society. Enron all over again!

America is not what it used to be.

Stop the bleeding--let these companies figure out a way to bail themselves out, let them reduce salaries, streamline business, let them figure it out. If they need a loan, then let them go file the paperwork to get a loan just like every other person and business has to do. Make them stand on their own!

Tired of handing out and getting nothing in return!

Jeffrey S. Carr

Houma, LA

Sep 29 2008 - 8:17am

Web Letter

It seems that many Americans want Wall Street to crash, as if financial institutions were isolated entities and existed within a vacuum. Don't people understand what would ensue were these huge banks allowed to founder? Retirement funds, insurance policies and any investments would be wiped out. Regulations need to be restored and the mortgage mess needs to be reconfigured. There are, after all, real estate assets that have intrinsic worth. Regulations also need to restrict the size that financial companies can become. The far-reaching effects of these huge financial conglomerates is a strong factor for having to intervene when they fail. The current state of affairs on Wall Street is a direct consequence of laissez-faire deregulation, and now Main Street must foot the bill, and in so doing, Main Street has to learn from this experience... that "regulation" is not a hindrance against freedom but is protection against destructive greed.

Kate Simpson

Chateau-Renard, France

Sep 28 2008 - 10:47am

Web Letter

They say $700 billion dollars will keep America from falling into the grips of a great depression. They say greedy Wall Street investors did it. Maybe all people were a little too greedy these past years, maybe we are all a little to blame for this financial crisis.

Maybe there is some truth in the idea that this has come about because of the the atheistic and animalistic ways man must struggle for life and dominance for his survival, maybe a little too much dog-eat-dog and "may the better man win" at any cost, maybe like a backyard squirrel many of us hoarded and collected so much money during boom times, we stuffed so much away for ourselves, our family, our descendants for many years... maybe a little too much me me me.

But maybe there is some truth to the idea that we are all the children of God, somehow placed on this magical and wondrous planet Earth with a chance at free will and exploration to learn to be better than before, to grow with enlightenment and prosperity for all our brothers and sisters on this ship we call Earth. Maybe we are all our brother's keeper, and maybe there is some truth in what one of the greatest who taught compassion towards one another, the Christ, the man called Jesus--the entity many cherish as the symbol of a life lived and devoted to all of us in purity and love in the eyes of heaven---declared to the rich man: "Give it all away." Surely this statement is hard to accept and exercise--it seems to go against the grain of instinctive animal behavior. Yet there is logic and peace in such a statement, as we are all the same family in times of need. Soldiers know no color or creed in battle. Man feels the love he has for his own children, and sometimes in life we know inside this is the feeling the heavens have for us as they watch us during our growth upon earth. Maybe there is some truth to this.

The American taxpayer is now asked to shoulder the burden--I guess we will and have no say--but I say to all who are rich, whether a person or corporation with an excess: give as much as you can away. Match the $700 billion like an employer matches contributions to a 401(k): double it, triple it! Let the children of the earth know we are one together, struggling in this life for food, healthcare, survival and love for our children to prosper and build a better life.

Give and match the$700 billion--maybe even a tax credit from Uncle Sam as a donation.

God bless us, everyone.


Catasauqua, PA

Sep 25 2008 - 1:48pm

Web Letter

The "crisis solution" may be part of a plan to gut Social Security. Paulson's blank check could well be the most outrageous move of an administration that has had no qualms in the past about using crisis situations to achieve hidden agenda. This is an administration that has been elected twice on a sad truth about democracy--that you can fool enough of the people, enough of the time to get away with just about anything!

What is the biggest agenda item Bush hasn't been able to accomplish? Social Security "reform," (a k a dismantling). What can't be achieved by the political process might be achieved by other, less direct means--like by pulling the financial plug? Remember the words of Grover Norquist (credited as one of the architects of the Bush tax cut): "I want to reduce government to the size where I can take to the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." The real way to ultimately reduce government (i.e., undermine its infrastructure) is to overextend it to the point that nothing else is financially possible. This is why the so-called squandering of the Clinton surplus by the tax cuts and the Iraq war are not necessarily blunders but quite possibly part of a well orchestrated strategy.

The current administration tried to make us believe that Social Security was bankrupt as of the day it stopped lending to the federal treasury and started asking to be repaid--as it was designed to do to cover the baby boom bubble. Congress and the public didn't buy it, but it's interesting to note that the first ten years of the Bush tax cuts will have sucked up just about all of the excess dollars lent by labor to the treasury via the payroll tax. Since we are now approaching the time when Social Security will be asking for its loans to the US Treasury to be repaid, extending those tax cuts will eliminate most of the revenue needed to repay the debt to Social Security. But that's probably not enough to gut the system. The only way to really kill it graveyard dead is another crisis to put the treasury so far under that no fiscal solution can ever allow it to make good on its multitrillion-dollar debt to the system. The biggest problem is that "reform" will be too easy. A sufficient increase to the payroll tax, a decrease to the retirement age and a cut in benefits, and not a dime of all the "contributions" by labor over the last quarter-century will ever come due for repayment--in effect, a permanent transfer of wealth from labor to the wealthiest federal income taxpayers for no consideration.

There's no denying there's a financial crisis that needs to be dealt with immediately. But the bluff needs to be called. The suggestion is, that whether the solution is acquisition of equity in financial institutions or acquiring tainted mortgage portfolios, the assets acquired be at no less than fair-market value and be transferred to the Social Security Administration to be managed, in a fiduciary capacity, for the long term benefit of the system (and not dumping at steep discounts a la RTC and FDIC).

The plus for the Social Security system is that for once it has real assets that can potentially yield far more than treasury interest rates and most importantly can't ever be "reformed" away. The plus for the treasury is that it actually will incur no new debt. The assets acquired will be transferred to the Social Security Administration in satisfaction of existing trust fund obligations. This is a real solution to two big problems. The only challenge is the pricing. This should be bipartisan heaven!

John Cote

Wickenburg, AZ

Sep 24 2008 - 9:05pm

Web Letter

One has to begin by nationalizing the Federal Reserve. Unless this is done, the US will continue to experience periodic episodes of financial meltdowns of one form or another. This isn't to say that there won't be other swindles or insider or short-selling rackets, but it takes away the profit motive for the Federal Reserve to inflate and then crash markets. When house prices were spiraling higher and higher, Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman, was frequently interviewed and let everyone know that it was his hand that was enriching America. Where is the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Bernanke, now? Almost invisible--and only too happy that the role of the Federal Reserve is quietly being ignored.

Only with these conditions, and some others, should the federal government be willing to take ownership--temporarily--of the rotten financial assets that are dragging down funds, banks and brokerages.

Peter Lewycky

Toronto, Canada

Sep 24 2008 - 5:55pm

Web Letter

Lack of trust. Fear. Panic. Because Wall Street leaders, captains and warriors (as they style themselves), are afraid of what they have done. And we are supposed to entrust $700 billion, with no oversight and no contract, to these people who will not trust each other?

With $700B we could completely pay the damages of thirty-two Hurricane Ikes at $22B each. Create 700,000 doctors at $1M. Outright build and give away 2.8 million modest homes. Provide free four-year college tuition for 7 million people.

Or we could issue 700 billion pieces of scrip to devalue the dollar, jack up our cost of oil against other currencies and provide ten mansions in the Hamptons.

We can invest in education, infrastructure and our future, or be the mugu of the world's largest 419 scam.

Doug Lowing

Amherst, MA

Sep 24 2008 - 1:02am